Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Jewish Open

I was sitting at breakfast with my family and in the background was Sportscenter. The top story was John Isner downing Andy Roddick in the US Open. Immediately I saw the name John Isner and thought, what a perfect TGR article. But unfortunately I have no sources that confirm whether or not Isner is actually Jewish. Then I realized I have not written a story that involved the world of tennis. I actually really like tennis. I will watch a tennis match before a soccer game any day. I will hit a tennis ball over attempting to run on a treadmill. So I decided to do some research on Jewish tennis players.

To my surprise there were a lot, far more than I could write a small story about. So I quickly went to see how the Jews faired in the US Open. Unfortunately, we have not done so well.

In Men’s singles play Wayne Odesnik was ousted in the first round in 3 straight sets, as was Nicholas Massu (no 100% confirmation on his Jewish status but it is believed that his mother is Jewish). Jesse Levine did slightly better winning his first match 7-5, 6-1, 6-2, only to lose in the second round. Harel Levy, another Jewish player, only made it through one qualifying round and did not make the official tournament.

On the woman’s side Shahar Pe’er (probably the most well known Jewish player) won the first two rounds, but lost in the third round to Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The Jews have much more representation in the doubles brackets. Sergio Roitman from Argentina (Jewish) and his partner Sebastain Prieto (not Jewish) lost their first round match in straight sets, as did Wayne Odesnik and Michael Shabaz (not Jewish). Jonathan Erlich from Israel (major shout-out to the Israel boy) and his partner Jeff Coetzee also lost in the first round but made it to a third set (I guess that is a little better). Jesse Levine and Ryan Sweeting (not Jewish) won their first round match eventually to lose in the second round.

There is one Jewish player still fighting for hardware at the US Open. Andy Ram (Israeli Jew…very nice) and partner Max Mirnyi (not Jewish) have won the first 4 rounds and have reached the semifinals. We will keep you posted on Ram’s progress.

So while I continue to dig around to find out the religion of John Isner there seems to be plenty of Jewish hope in the game of tennis. Maybe it is the golden era of Jewish baseball, but it’s the bright fuzzy yellow era of Jewish tennis.

And Let Us Say…Amen.
-Jeremy Fine
Photo by: Eric Baetscher

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